My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Joys and Sorrows of a 115 Year Old House

So we got back from Ohio on monday and smelled gas as soon as we walked in the door. Trope summoned a guy from the gas company, a nice enough guy, sort of a young black Santa Claus. Santa told us that the line carrying gas in from the street was leaking, and he'd have to shut off the gas to the house until our landlord got it fixed. Also, there was no shutoff valve in the house, so some guys would have to come out, right away, and tear up the front yard to disconnect the gas by, like, smashing the pipe with a backhoe. You couldn't make this stuff up. Using a little clicking device that reminded me of the jury-rigged motion detectors from "Alien," Santa determined that the line in question runs right through the bedroom, and our closets, to the meter at the back of the house. The leak is somewhere south of the stairwell, meaning that a sizeable chunk of wall or ceiling will have to be removed to get at the pipe in question in order to repair it.

So the landlord dispatches a guy he knows who can allegedly fix the pipes. Call him Manny Ramirez. Manny's plan is to remove the gas meter and attach a tank of pressurized CO2 to the gas line, repressurizing it and inspecting it to find the leak. Only it won't repressurize, because the end that's outside isn't really shut off, it's just been smashed by a backhoe. Manny takes off to Home Depot to buy something to plug the hole with, and never comes back.

The next morning Manny's back a little after eight. He borrows my shovel and starts digging around in the big muddy pit the gas company dug for us. Did I mention that they covered it with wooden skids they stole from a nearby construction site? No? Now how could that have slipped my mind?

Anyway, Manny can't fix the pipe because the whole thing is crumbling to the touch now. He says it's original to the house, which is a little scary because the house is a little worker's cottage built in 1890. Apparently in all that time nobody's tried to shut the gas off before and realized that it couldn't be done. In any case, it now looks like the gas company needs to tear up the street, and we need to tear out our ceilings etc. if we ever want to spoil ourselves with hot water again.

I've never been so glad for our gym membership - at least I have somewhere to take a hot shower every morning. But I'm going to start getting testy if I can't cook something soon. And Trope has this thing where she believes that disease is caused by fanciful, invisibly small creatures called "germs" rather than enemy witch doctors, and she tends to like things to get washed in painfully hot water, which is supposed to melt these germs like the witch in "Wizard of Oz." But of course we don't have any of that here.

So we're going to do what any sensible person would do - flee to New York for a few days, and hope we have gas service by the time we get back. If not, we can always break out our terrorist incident emergency stash of MREs. Nutrition: A Force Multiplier!

See ya next week.

1 comment:

Bob said...

What a pain in the butt. Jen and I had a small water leak that threw our small apartment into disarray for two weeks but I can only imagine how horrible your situation is.